Key insider in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot gets sentence break

FILE - This file photo provided by the Kent County Sheriff shows Ty Garbin, a star witness who testified against others in the plot to kidnap Michigan's governor. Garbin asked a judge Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, to reduce his prison sentence and release him from custody. He wants more than four years cut off his 6 1/4-year sentence for conspiracy. Prosecutors agree that a break is justified, but they're recommending only a three-year reduction. (Kent County Sheriff via AP, File) (Uncredited)

A judge on Friday slashed nearly four years off the prison sentence of a star witness who pleaded guilty in the plot to kidnap Michigan's governor and helped federal prosecutors.

Ty Garbin's sentence of 6 1/4 years was reduced to 2 1/2 years, a reward even greater than prosecutors had sought.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker cited Garbin's “substantial assistance” to the government and his own assessment of the 26-year-old airplane mechanic, who cooperated soon after his arrest, pleaded guilty and testified at two trials.

Prosecutors had requested a 36-month reduction while Garbin's attorneys asked for 51 months. Jonker settled on a 45-month break.

Garbin has been in custody since he and five other men were arrested in October 2020. Even after his guilty plea, he's been locked up in local jails instead of the federal system in order to be nearby to assist authorities.

"This puts him in a really great position to transition to home detention or a halfway house pretty quickly,” attorney Gary Springstead said of the shorter sentence.

The first trial, last spring, ended with acquittals for Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and no verdicts for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.

Fox and Croft were convicted at a second trial in August in Grand Rapids, Michigan, following Garbin's testimony.

He said the goal was to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home and spark a civil war, known among right-wing extremists as the “boogaloo.” The FBI, which had agents and informants inside the group, stopped the plot.

Garbin will likely testify for prosecutors in separate but related cases filed against others in state court.

Kaleb Franks, 28, also pleaded guilty and assisted the government. He has not been sentenced yet.


White reported from Detroit. Follow him at